Thursday, January 13, 2011

How To Eat Yucky Food

I ate Ethiopian cuisine last night for the first time. Wow! I love trying new foods, and this was all new to me. Who wouldn't enjoy food you eat with flatbread (think of it like a thin sourdough pancake) instead of utensils?

But, oddly enough, when I was a kid, I would have HATED this meal.

Despite that my parents liked to occasionally experiment with food, I was a VERY picky eater as a child. I was a practitioner of "de-gunkification," which involved removing all onions, olives, mushrooms, and other yucky ingredients. Or, when nothing could be done to fix a meal, I would steadfastly sit at the table staring at the plate until my father's attention shifted somewhere else, at which time I would stealthily dispose of the plate's contents in the garbage. "I'm done eating!"

However, I eventually learned another, much more satisfying trick when it came to dealing with foods I didn't like or foods I had never been served before (and thus didn't like): Eat them, and enjoy doing so!

It proved to be an easy trick of the mind; I pretended I was one of the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings, that I was on a journey across Middle Earth, and that I was being served a banquet in a foreign land by a horse lord, an elf queen, or a returned king. In this guise, every food gained a sort of luster, no matter how green, or oddly textured, or suspicious smelling. It was a magic glamour I was able to cast on myself!

Of course, I no longer employ that trick--I think I've absorbed that sense of appreciation for odd foods into my subconscious. Which means I wasn't a hobbit last night eating a repast prepared by Elrond for the Fellowship. But I imagine the food would have been right at home somewhere in Middle Earth.

And, phsst! Listen up all you picky eaters (who also like Lord of the Rings)--Ethiopian flatbread? What if it was some kind of Lembas! Oh yeah, I think you know where I'm going with this. Give it a try.
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